We had a wonderful time at Jack's birthday party today, and then at Grandpa Bob's for an early family Christmas celebration.
My friend Monica, as she was leaving, remarked that her parents don't have siblings in this country, and that her husband's an only child and his mother's an only child, so they're not used to big family get-togethers. It got me thinking, again, just how lucky our kids are to be so surrounded by so many people who really love them. They have relationships with their aunts and uncles, as well as many great-aunts and uncles, second cousins, in-laws and out-laws. There were many more people I would have loved to have seen today, even though our house would've burst at the seams.
I'll make no apologies for being inclusive when it comes to our family. Sure, it would be easier to just have a family party with BJ and the kids and a little cake from the grocery store, but it's the times when we come together as a family to celebrate each other - to cheer each other on; to applaud each other; to bear witness to a milestone like a birth or a birthday, or a marriage or even a death - that shape and define our lives. With each party, I'm teaching my kids, "Family matters." I'm giving them deep, strong roots, so that they can grow tall and reach high. Actually, I take that back, everyone who loves them is giving them those roots. I'm just the one sending out the invites and bringing the snacks.
I love celebrating my kids' birthdays with the same aunts and uncles that came to my birthdays growing up. I love watching my kids play with their cousins and second cousins and twelfth cousins. I hope that when they're grown, they'll still want their aunts and uncles to come and watch their great-nieces and great-nephews blow out their birthday candles. Won't that be something?